(Ynys-Cynon), Mid Cynon Floodplains,
Hi! I am James, a local amateur naturalist. Due to geographical convenience and abundance of wildlife I have identified, documented and photographed most of the species of bird & plants and many of the insects at Tirfounder Fields in Cwmbach. The area has a concentrated mix of river, floodplains, marsh, canals, hedgerows, woods, wasteground, scrubland, meadows and grassland and so makes good diversity for an indepth study. The upper and lower flooplains are defined as a SINC area (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation). This does not give it the protection it deserves, but ensures that consideration may be given to witness reports such as these. My interest in nature was rekindled at frustration at not being able to identify plants outside my general knowledge. Seeing the bulldozers roll in to build new estates nearby also spurred me to document whatever was there in the event that should I wish to deluge councillors with evidence of life, and for posterity. Site Update 21.04.17
International Winter Migrants @ Tirfounder 2016: Teal, Goosander, Redwing, Blackbird.
Nature News 2016
2015 Wildlife Sightings
Tirfounder Report Dec 2015
Then in September I take a back-seat and don't expect anything unusual to turn up, especially in months of overcast weather. But it is a mistake to sit on your laurels when in the natural world, as the crowning glory of another successful ornithological year came with the arrival of a Cetti's Warbler to the site on 29th Sept, while going to the shops! It caused some excitement among other local birders, and we suspect because it is giving its startling, unforgettable, trilling call from the rushes that it is a mature male that has come up from either the Swansea or Cardiff coastal groups, they being so successful, and with the weather warming up, expanding into new territories. I last heard him call on 16th of Dec, so I believe if the weather holds out we could see him a permanent and maybe breeding resident!
Off site down at the Phurnacite Ponds the successful pairing and breeding of two baby Swan cygnets came to tragedy when the male apparently crashed into power lines, so we are told, and the mother and babies fledged, presumably back to their owner in Windsor. I was delighted to encounter a Crossbill at Llyn Fawr near Hirwaun, but astonished when 12 of them flew past at Baverstocks forestry in Sept. Another highlight of the year was spotting 3 Tree Pipts, 2 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, and 2 Wheaters within yards of each other near Cefn Y Gyngon in the Country Park on 16th May, all of which gives me the satisfaction of knowing that the barren wastes of Aberdare still throws up surprises.
2014 Wildlife Sightings
Tirfounder News for 2014 - Wildlife
Some other memorable moments include spotting 3 kingfishers at once, two males appeared to be calling (very close to me) to a female upstream, and there is never a bird trip when they fail to turn up. I was also over the moon to spot my first otter on site in May, after being sceptical about their presence. A female (I assume) scrambled underneath rocks near the fishermen's platform looking for crustaceans, this joy was followed by the appearance of mink on several occasions. Every other migrant species that was expected to turn up and breed on site has, (garden, sedge, reed, willow, blackcap, whitethroat, chiff chaff, swallow, swift, sand martin, house) but I do note I have not seen any snipe or grasshopper warblers, but of course they are always well hidden. Also the Greylag geese did not breed this year, one assumes they were either victims of predation, hunting or even displaced by the Canadian Geese which were seen on the 'usual' nest site in the spring, who also sometimes turn up in large flocks. The main flock of Greylags are now located at Aberdare Park, where they interbreed with the Aylesburys and Chinese Geese. Only one remains on the pond permanently, with a damaged wing, presumably shot. I missed the Redwing flocks this year, even when I started to venture out again in November the Hawthorns were already stripped, so one may say they had their fill and moved on, as I videoed a flock of 70 of the Ynys fields this time last year. As I write this the annual spring of Teal hide in the back-pond with their wistful whistling giving them away and will expect the usual pair of Goosanders to turn up soon.
News for 2014 - Industry
Tirfounder News for 2013 - Industry
Future Of The Site
My Description of the Site Habitats
Reference Material Used
Planning, Legal, News Reports